Traditionally, when we hear about a sea wolf, what comes to mind is a dangerous and predatory marine species that that attacks and destroys whatever it encounters at sea.
For Ian McAllister, a world-renowned photographer, a sea wolf has a quite literal meaning: a real sea wolf. For the last two decades, Ian has been documenting the lives of a particular species of wolf from the Pacific Coast of Canada, in British Columbia, that live off the sea.
This population of wolves is different of the type we find inland, genetically and behaviorally. They are a bit smaller and physically different from the wolves we are accustomed to seeing. They can swim up to seven miles, from island to island to select the best seafood the ocean can offer.
They live primarily off the bounty of seafood available in the coastal area, with 90% of their food coming from the ocean. Enviously, 25% of their diet consists of eating salmon.
These stunning animals are skilled in fishing for their food to feed themselves and their pack. McAllister was able to get a few incredible shots of the wolves in the water and the pictures are breathtaking. As he swam towards the wolves, they approached him so closely that ”he could hear them grunting into his snorkel,” McAllister told the bioGraphic. He took a few more pictures and then pushed back into deeper water without daring to look up.
Unfortunately, these magnificent, highly intelligent and social animals are not protected by provincial or federal Canadian laws, where hunters are not only allowed, but encouraged to kill them.
The talented photographer is also a founding director of Pacific Wild, a non-profit Canadian wildlife conservation group that is trying to change that sad reality by bringing attention and awareness to the need to protect the West Coast temperate rainforest and the animals that make the region their habitat.
To learn more about these amazing animals, visit Pacific Wild.
Via: National Geographic.